Want to Be a Good OT? Remember What You Learned in Kindergarten!

by Cheryl Hall on March 14th, 2020

I ran across a copy of Robert Fulghum’s best selling book All You Really Need to Know You Learned in Kindergarten a couple of weeks ago. Published more than 30 years ago, it was published at the start of my OT career. I remember thinking how his wonderful advice rang true for me . So, here are five kindergarten lessons included in Robert Fulghum’s book that contributed to my OT career.

Whether it’s a peer, coworker, student, caregiver or patient- share your experience,
resources and expertise. By sharing, you help build the occupational therapy profession, you help patients achieve their occupation-based goals and you become a better OT.

Live a Balanced Life
As OTs we give, give, give all day long. We work long past the minute we leave a patient continually thinking about their challenges. To counter these demands, we need to find a way to balance our lives. Make time for something you love each day – get outside, listen to music, have a cup of tea, play with your pet, or read a book. By seeking balance, you will have more to give to your OT patients.

Be Aware of Wonder
Hold on to your childlike sense of wonder about the world as a way to stay curious. Ask “why” a lot! A curious OT is a creative OT, and a better OT!

Life is Short
(I am paraphrasing here – Fulghum was a little more direct!) Depending on the population you help, you are going to have to deal with losing patients. While you never stop mourning those who pass, hang on to the good you did for those patients. Handling these losses with grace and strength helps your colleagues and the family.

Remember the Most Important Word “LOOK”
Never operate on automatic pilot. Really look at your patients, their challenges, their environment, their hopes and dreams, their caregivers and their progress. All these will impact the way you approach the patient’s plan of care so keep looking.

Have you read All You Really Need to Know You Learned in Kindergarten? Are there other lessons you learned in kindergarten that you apply to your OT career? Let me know!

  • About Me

    Cheryl Hall
    Occupational Therapist
    Maryland, United States

    Welcome to a site devoted to sharing experience, knowledge and resources to make your job of being a great therapist a lot easier.

    I have been an occupational therapist for more than 30 years. I graduated from San Jose State University with degrees in Occupational Therapy, Gerontology, and Early Child Development. My passion is working with adults and children in home health but I have also worked in rehab, sub-acute rehab, hand therapy, transitional living for TBI, and hospital-based outpatient settings.

  • Previous Posts